REPORT: RD 1 2019 Bathurst “Esses Hillclimb”


Date: 2/3/19 | Host: BLCC

Iconic Mt Panorama provided stunning conditions for the season opener. 77 drivers tackled the mountain.

Starting at the beginning of Conrod Straight, cars fired their way into Forest Elbow, up The Esses in a non conventional clockwise direction and finished at the top of Skyline 700m from the start line.

Formula Libre (FL) 2.0L+ : the big guns for outright honors saw Malcolm Oastler (21.71) on top in his purpose built, blisteringly fast turbo open wheeler from Dean Tighe (23.34) in the Dallara D395.

Dave Morrow (26.56) represented FL 0.075-1.3L while in the smaller engined FL cars (up to 0.750L) victory went to Steven King (26.67) in the Uberkart Reaper ahead of Denis Russell (31.15) in his kawasaki powered open wheeler.

2A Sports 0-1.6L class saw Zac LeLievre (25.46) in front steering the Westfield Megabusa. Kevin Weeks (27.22) was alone in 2A Sports 4WD in some very exotic machinery: an AWD Lamborghini Gallardo on full slicks with time attack aero.

Kendall O’Conner (28.47) on debut took the top step in his MX5 in 2A Sports 2.0L+ from Greg Jones (30.74) in his clubman. 2B Prodsports 1.6L+ belonged to James Pearson (26.56) with his FD RX-7 eclipsing the class record ahead of John Engisch (31.71) in the MX-5 cup car. Ron Gallagher (35.10) claimed victory in 2F Prodsports 1.6L+.

Sports sedans (SS) saw some very good class battles in this highly modified discipline. <1.3L went to Joshua Hayes (35.32) steering the Fiat X1/9 from Richard Ostle in the Mini. David Wrightson (32.10) triumphed in a Honda powered mini in SS 1.3-2.0L ahead of Jo Bell singing her own VTEC symphony.

Competition was hot in SS 3L+. Phil Heafey (25.22) in the weapons grade Evo grabbed the win and new class record ahead of Wayne Penrose (25.87) in the VW Beetle “Phoenix”. Wayne was pushing hard and spun at the dipper but managed to keep his car off the concrete.

Gerard Gotch (31.12) in the Datsun 120Y represented Improved Production (IP) 1.6-2.0L while John Gilbert (27.42) wrestled the Commodore to come out on top in IP 3L+ edging out Brett Slingsby (29.48) in the barking green VH shared with his wife Katie.

Historic U had Garry Ford (26.94) in his stout v8 powered escort. Garry is a joy to watch as he dances the Esky up the hill with skill and finesse.

Historic Va honors went to Harold Roberts (34.73) in the Formula V over Michael (34.95) in the same car, who was only 0.2s behind.

Late Model IP class was won by Tim Blake (28.22) in his WRX ahead of Darren Blake (28.80) in the blue Subie.

Chris Wier (28.07) proved too quick in Late Model IP non 4WD ahead of Geoff Brisby (28.87) who had worked very hard to have his commodore ready for 2019 after a nasty crash late last year.

Multi-club 2.0L+ was another close fought battle all day, with Greg Leggett (32.68) just pipping Brandon (32.86).

Road Registered (RR) <2.5L winner was Graeme Orr (31.10) with extra grunt from new camshafts and a great drive re-setting the class record followed closely by Garry Christopherson (31.24).

RR AWD went to Theo Poteris (30.04) from Karen who would much rather have been steering the commodore than the Focus RS! RR 2.5L+ was the biggest class of the day with 13 vying for glory.

Liam O’Brien (28.42) took bragging rights and new class record over David Williams (28.62) in the fastest black ute.

Time attack 4WD was a new class, won by the R35 GTR of Neville Shears (25.42) back after a year off.

Top 5 Open Wheelers Outright were Malcolm Oastler, Dean Tighe, Dean Amos, Ron Hay and Michael Von Rappard

Top 5 Tintops Outright were Phil Heafey, Neville Shears, Wayne Penrose, Troy Nichalson and James Pearson

Fastest Junior was Riley Mac Queen. Fastest Lady Driver was Karen Wilson.

Another very successful event to open the year and a big thanks to Bathurst Light Car Club and their dedicated team of officials and volunteers who gave up their time so we could all race.

Hats off to each and every one of you!

All Photos by Bill Pearson